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LAB: More Workers Trying to Cheat Drug Testing System

July 3, 2019, 9:06 AM HST
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“For the second quarter in a row, Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc. is detecting more synthetic urine being submitted by people trying to cheat the workplace drug testing system,” noted Dr. Steven Brimmer, the company’s director of toxicology.

The percentage of synthetic urines detected in Q2 2019 was up 7.4% and 38% versus Q1 2019 and Q2 2018 respectively.

Cocaine use was up from Q1 2019 approximately 25%, and up 5.3% from Q2 2018.

“Although cocaine use was up 25% from Q2 2019, it doesn’t alarm me because the percentages of positives are quite small,” Dr. Brimmer said.

Marijuana positive rates were down 6.2% in Q2 2019 from Q1 2019, with little change (-0.4%) compared to Q2 2018. Amphetamine positivity rate was down 11% from Q1 2019 to Q2 2019 and also showed a decrease of 1.3% from Q2 2018.


In Hawai‘i, the percentage of positive results for opiates in workplace testing ranges between 0.15% and 0.25%. Both quarters in 2019 have stayed within this range; the Q2 2019 rate is 0.23%.


“Although the quarterly rate is up 28% from Q1 2019, the percentage of positives are quite low for opiate use,” Brimmer added.

DLS’ quarterly sample size typically includes between 7,000 to 10,000 drug tests.

Quarterly Results of Workforce Drug Testing to Date

2nd Q 18 3rd Q 18 4th Q 18 1st Q 19 2nd Q 19
Amphetamines 0.80% 0.63% 0.65% 0.89% 0.79%
Cocaine 0.38% 0.26% 0.40% 0.32% 0.40%
Opiates 0.23% 0.16% 0.17% 0.18% 0.23%
THC (Marijuana) 2.78% 2.72% 2.91% 2.98% 2.77%
Synthetic Urine 1.26% 0.87% 1.20% 1.62% 1.74%

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